Perodua recently announced the start of order taking for its new SUV, the Aruz, which is available in two variants – X and AV. With prices starting from a tentative RM72,200 on-the-road without insurance, the seven-seat model marks the national carmaker’s return to the segment, with previous attempts being the Nautica and well-remembered Kembara.

Of course, the Aruz won’t be the only model of its kind in the market when it is officially launched, and it will have to fend off a small number of rivals in the pool it enters. The most obvious is of course the Honda BR-V, a model that has been around since January 2017, and remains a popular choice for those in the market for a budget seven-seat SUV.

Another rival is the vehicle on which the Aruz is based on, the Toyota Rush, with both having a lot in common, particularly where powertrains are involved. The Rush was introduced in October last year with estimated pricing from RM93,000, making it most costly than the Aruz despite their similarities.

Just for comparison’s sake, we’ll even throw in the newly-launched Proton X70 for the heck of it, but given that the C-segment SUV is more expensive – it starts from RM99,800 – and occupies a different segment, don’t take it’s presence here too seriously as a rival to the Aruz. Also, the X70 variant depicted in our table is the top spec Premium 2WD.

As stated above, the inclusion of the X70 is merely for comparison’s sake – had we not included it, many people would be asking for it anyway. In no way are we suggesting that the X70 is a direct competitor to the Aruz. Different segments aside, the gulf in pricing puts them far apart from each other. – Hafriz.

In terms of size, the Aruz measures 4,435 mm long, 1,695 mm wide, 1,705 mm tall and has a wheelbase spanning 2,685 mm. These figures are identical to what you get with the Rush, but when compared to the BR-V, the Aruz is shorter (-18 mm) and not as wide (-40 mm). However, it is taller (+39 mm) and has a larger wheelbase (+23 mm) by comparison.

Despite the Aruz’s more substantial wheelbase, its boot space is only 213 litres with all three seat rows in their default position, which is 10 litres less than what the BR-V can offer. As for the X70, the Aruz only beats the C-segment model by height (+11 mm) and wheelbase (+15 mm).

Under the bonnet, the Aruz sports a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 104 hp and 136 Nm. The 2NR-VE Dual VVT-i mill, also found in the Myvi, is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, with drive going to the rear wheels. This setup is also used in the Rush, and both come with an engine idle automatic start/stop function (Perodua calls theirs ‘Eco Idle’).

Meanwhile, the BR-V also features a 1.5 litre NA powerplant, although its SOHC i-VTEC unit makes more power than the Aruz and Rush with 119 hp and 145 Nm. Also, a CVT is the transmission of choice to direct power frontwards. All three cars have a claimed fuel consumption figure of between 15.5 to 15.6 kilometres per litre.

The X70, with its 1.8 litre turbo engine, clearly makes the most power out of the four at 182 hp and 285 Nm, and can be had in front- or all-wheel drive, with a six-speed automatic being standard across its entire range.

The Aruz is rather well equipped for its price, with LED headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, manual single-zone air-conditioning with rear blower vents, seven-inch head unit, built-in Touch n Go reader, power/charging outlets for all three seat rows, keyless entry and start, It gets better at the top end, with the AV gaining automatic on/off functionality for the headlamps, HDMI input for the head unit, leather wrapped controls, leather seats and a digital video recorder (DVR).

Focusing on the BR-V, the Honda’s list of standard equipment on its two variants (E and V) include halogen projector headlamps, LED DRLs, 16-inch alloys, standard head unit, single-zone air-conditioning with rear blower vents, front power outlet. Only the range-topping V variant of the BR-V adds on front fog lamps, leather upholstery, automatic air-conditioning and a 6.1-inch touchscreen display audio system with HDMI input.

Looking at the safety kit of the cars, the Aruz range comes with six airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control and second-row Isofix child seat anchors as standard, which is similar to what the Rush offers. The BR-V makes do with two airbags but gets the regular array of systems and items: Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), ABS, EBD, Hill Start Assist (HSA) and second-row Isofix child seat anchors.

The big-ticket item for the Aruz is the availability of Perodua’s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 suite for the AV variant, which is similar to the ASA in the Myvi Advance (Pre-Collision Warning, Pre-Collision Braking, Front Departure Alert and Pedal Misoperation Control), but further improved.

With ASA 2.0, pedestrian detection has been added and works at speeds of up to 50 km/h. Other enhancements include higher operational speeds of Pre-Collision Warning to 100 km/h and Pre-Collision Braking to 80 km/h (from 30 km/h). While ASA 2.0 is similar in spec as the Toyota Rush’s Pre-Collision System, the Aruz doesn’t come with a blind spot monitor with rear-cross traffic alert. Furthermore, the Perodua is not offered with a Panoramic View Monitor with four cameras like the Rush.

The BR-V doesn’t come with an equivalent system to ASA 2.0, but despite that, all four vehicles listed here qualify for a five-star safety rating from ASEAN NCAP. Unsurprisingly, the X70’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) is more comprehensive as it also includes things the Aruz and Rush doesn’t have like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Door Opening Warning System (DOW) and Intelligent High Beam Control (HBC).

With the Aruz topping out at an estimated RM77,200 for the top spec AV variant, the Perodua SUV certainly makes for an attractive prospect given its equipment list relative to its rivals. Which one would you prefer?

For further reading on the Perodua Aruz:

GALLERY: Perodua Aruz teaser at KLIMS 2018

GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Rush 1.5S

GALLERY: Honda BR-V 1.5L V